Lingulella Ancient Brachiopod from Chengjiang Biota

Lingulella chengjiangensis

Phylum Brachiopoda, Order Lugulida, Family Lingulidae

Geologic Time: Early Cambrian (~525 million years ago)

Size (25.4mm=1 inch): 15 mm long on an 18 mm by 18 mm matrix

Fossil Site: Chengjiang Maotianshan Shales - Quiongzhusi Section, Yu’anshan Member, Heilinpu Formation, Mafang Village, Anning, Kunming, Yunnan Province, China

Lingulella chengjiangensisDescription: This small brachiopod is known as Lingulella chengjiangensis. The species is a relatively common member of the biota. The source of the specific name is easy to determine. The diversity of soft-tissue fossils is astonishing: algae, medusiforms, sponges, priapulids, annelid-like worms, echinoderms, arthropods (including trilobites), hemichordates, chordates, and the first agnathan fish make up just a small fraction of the total. Numerous problematic forms are known as well, some of which may have represented failed attempts at diversity that did not persist to the present day. Lingulella is a widespread Cambrian lingulid brachiopod, also found in the Burgess Shale. Specimens from that locality do not typically show soft tissue preservation such as the pedicle seen here. While it may have led a burrowing existence like modern-day lingulids, several have been found attached to other organisms like Eldonia and Rotadiscus, indicative of an epibenthic lifestyle. This species has been reported from both Chengjiang and Haikou.

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